Exegesis of Hosea 11 1-11 Term Paper

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The people of the kingdom, seeing nothing wrong with this, built their own altars throughout the land. Baal and Ashteroth were worshiped openly, sanctified by King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. Sacred prostitutes were part of this new idolatry. It was one of these that Hosea took as a wife, and then utilized this imagery of God's love for Israel, in that he would rescue them by buying them out of a kind of slavery to which they did not even know they were enslaved.

In Chapter 11 of the Book of Hosea, God charges Israel with having abandoned Him, of running away from God's loving care. The hypocrisy and false idol worship that Israel has turned to in order to enjoy the pleasures and luxuries they found around them had lured them far from the sheltering arms of God. Hosea was warning them that they had gone too far, and God could no longer help them. In chapter 11:1-11, Hosea reminds them of the history of the nation and how God had brought them there and kept them safe in His love. He likens the nation to a rebellious child with images of his feeding them, of helping them learn how to walk, of the tender nursing and care he showered upon them. He reminds them that God's love is eternal for those few who follow him, and keep the Covenant. Like a child who throws down the gift that the parent has given, Israel turns away and forgets all the good deeds that Jehovah has done for them, healing them and guiding them with cords of love.

Immediately Hose launches into the vivid imagery of a city that has been invaded. He vividly describes the tearing down of the gates and the flashing swords wielded by those who will come to destroy all that they have. But even then, he reminds them that God will not forsake His people and will not return to "burn the city," or allow it to disappear.

He will return to "roar like a lion" as his children come back to him, fleeing from Egypt and from Assyria to find him in Israel, where He will cover them safely in their land. Here Hosea paints the picture with images of birds flying out of Egypt and out of the north, coming back to find their safe nests again. And God will settle them in their "home," where they are meant to live. Hosea, seeing all of the future clearly, and sensing it around him as he sees the idolatry and immorality it spawns, tries to remedy the situation in his personal life by buying one of the "holy prostitutes," but telling her she is no longer to have sex, with him or others. He tries to live the life of a good man as an example to others, trying to find the remedy for the inevitable chaos that will come upon them if they continue to live as they do.

In this way, Jehovah God warns a nation that goes deeply into sin and the worship of the gods of money and sex, by sending a prophet to warn the people not to participate in this great sin. The prophet Hosea arose from the people who were sinning and led an exemplary life to let those who would turn away from the evil in society know how to live. His message to people down the ages is to turn from sinning and to come back to the God who loves them.

Bibliography

Andersen, Francis I. And Freedman, David. Hosea. New York: Doubleday Co.

Bandstra, Barry L. "An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible," Reading the Old Testament. Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1999.

Hanke, Paul R. Isagogical Study of the Book of Hosea. Mankato Pastoral Conference, December, 1984. http://*****/authors/H/HankeHosea/HankeHosea.PDF.

Sweeney, Marvin a. A Form-Critical Rereading of Hosea. Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. Society of Biblical Literature Pacific Coast Regional Meeting, Claremont, CA, March 15-17, 1998.

Ward, James M. Hosea, a Theological Commentary. New York: Harper & Row.

Wesley, John. Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible. Crosswalk.com. http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/WesleysExplanatoryNotes/wes.cgi?book=ho.

Bandstra, Barry L. "An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible," Reading the Old Testament. Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1999.

Sweeney, Marvin a. A Form-Critical Rereading of Hosea Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. Society of Biblical Literature Pacific Coast Regional Meeting, Claremont, CA, March 15-17, 1998.

Wesley, John. Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible.[continue]

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